First of all, I am a wife and mother of two young adults. My partner is Jim Stewart. My son is Lee James Stewart. My daughter is Mary Louise Stewart, a wonderful musician in her own right. I was born in Pictou, Nova Scotia, and was brought up as a singer and lover of all genres of music.
Following a wonderful, but too short career on the road with Granfalloon, Citizen and Hal Britton, I was amazingly lucky to begin work as a legal support member with the firm MacIntosh, MacDonnell & MacDonald. My family has planted roots in Pictou County, where we have all been dedicated volunteers. I have volunteered for decades, in, among other things, leading the Town of New Glasgow’s 125 celebrations, chairing the New Glasgow Music Festival, being New Glasgow’s CBC community contact, founding chair of the New Glasgow Jubilee, where I served for 10 years, former Board member for the New Glasgow Dragon Boat Society, leading team recruitment in 2009 where the highest dollar figure to date was raised, member of the Women Alike Dragon Boat Team, Board member for Tearmann Society for Abused Women, provincial Chair of Breast Cancer Network Nova Scotia, Contemporary Worship Coordinator for Trinity United Church and creator and founder of The Reason For Hope, a society dedicated to the elimination of cancer. In 2003 I was nominated as East Coast Music volunteer of the year.
In 2006, I finally turned my mind again to my own musical love, recording The Reason, which was released on September 29th. (Two 2007 Music Nova Scotia nominations – Inspirational and Country). On December 21st of that year I was diagnosed with breast cancer. At that point, my musical project was re-branded to The Reason for Hope. On my 50th birthday, in November of 2007, the first Reason for Hope concert was held featuring Cindy Church, 2 time John Lennon Song Contest Winner Arthur Godfrey, Jakki Rogue and Audra Raulyns, raising $11,500.00 for the Lodge That Gives, a Canadian Cancer Society venue which is invaluable to people outside the City needing treatment in Halifax.
In 2008 the second Reason for Hope was hosted at Trinity United Church in New Glasgow. Funds raised that year totaled $2000.00, going towards improvements to the Aberdeen Hospital‘s Oncology Department. Featured performers included 11 time JUNO Award Winner Murray McLauchlan, Quartette member Cindy Church, my daughter Mary Stewart and very talented and upcoming artist Kate MacLean, currently studying music at Humber College in Toronto.
2009 saw the third Reason for Hope being hosted at Summer Street Industries in New Glasgow, this time, with funds directed to Breast Cancer Network Nova Scotia. $3,000.00 was presented to the group. Featured performers were Dave Carroll, Tony Quinn, Mary Stewart and my good friends Shaun McLean and Ross MacVicar.
On May 17th, 2010 I was told my cancer has returned this time metastatic breast cancer. Currently there is no cure. The medical profession has suggested a series of chemotherapy treatments to begin mid-July. The future is uncertain. But one thing is certain: the love of my family can never be taken away; the love of friends can never be taken away; hope can never be taken away; and positive thought and gratitude for all we have can never be taken away.